ANTH 101

The Science of Human Beings

The Art of Being Human

Anthropology for Everyone

Free online course and materials. Join a clan and take the course for free or use the website to run your own class.

You can't just think your way into a new way of living.

 You have to live your way into a new way of thinking.


10 Lessons

10 Challenges

Part One: Make Connections, Ask Questions, and Try New Things

1. People are Different.

These differences represent the vast range of human potential and possibility.  Our beliefs, assumptions, ideas, ideals – even our abilities – are largely a product of our culture.

Talking to Strangers

Seeing the world like an anthropologist and understanding the 10 lessons takes a lifetime of practice. These challenges will help you begin to see and think differently and to incorporate these anthropological ideas into your own life. Your first challenge is to go out into the world, meet a stranger and hear their story.

2. Asking New Questions

We can choose to confront human differences with hate and ignorance, or we can choose to open up to them and ask questions we have never considered before.

Fieldwork of the Familiar

Seeing other cultures allows us to look at our own with new eyes.  Challenge 2 is to find the strange in the familiar, the signficant in the mundane.

3. Being Human

When we ask these questions it puts us in touch with our higher nature. It was asking questions, making connections, and trying new things that brought us down from the trees, and took us to the moon.

3. The 28 Day Challenge

Exercise your humanity and try something new.

Part Two: Challenge your assumptions.

4. Hidden Assumptions

Our most basic assumptions are embedded in the basic elements of our everyday lives (e.g. language, routines, habits, technologies). 

Get Uncomfortable

Do some participant observation in a place, event, activity or situation that makes you uncomfortable and discover your assumptions.

5. Making & Living

“We shape our tools & then our tools shape us.” – John Culkin

The Unthing Experiment

Give something up to discover something new.  Give up your shoes, mirrors, chairs, your phone, the internet and discover how the most basic things we have made have also remade us.

6. ``Reality``

Most of what we take as “reality” is a cultural construction (“real”-ized through our unseen, unexamined assumptions of what is right, true, or possible.) 


As we pass the midpoint of the course, your challenge is to reflect on what you have learned so far and to write about how something has been “real”-ized, which is to say, how something has been socially or culturally constructed.

7. Why we hate.

We fail to examine our assumptions not just because they are hard to see, but also because they are safe and comfortable. * They allow us to live with the flattering illusion that “I am the center of the universe, and what matters are my immediate needs and desires.”

Other Encounter

Your challenge is to understand and empathize with somebody as different from you as possible, preferably with differences that are especially difficult for you to understand.

8. The Tragedy of Our Times

Our failure to move beyond such a view has led to the tragedy of our times: that we are more connected than ever, yet feel and act more disconnected.

Part Three: Be a Hero. Toward True Freedom.

9. Heroes

Memorizing these ideas is easy. Living them takes a lifetime of practice. Fortunately the heroes of all time have walked before us. They show us the path.

The Hero Challenge

Your challenge is to see yourself as a hero and write your life story as a hero story.  Start where the forest appears darkest, identify your dragons, and discover your hard-earned strengths.

10. We Make the World.

They show us that collectively, we make the world. Understanding how we make the world – how it could be made or understood differently – is the road toward realizing our full human potential. It is the road to true freedom.

Your Manifesto

Create a visual work of art that captures who you are and who you hope to become, then write a manifesto for your life. Consider it an “application to come aboard Spaceship Earth.”

“Anthropology completely changed my life – it took me from a really cynical, unhappy person to an individual enlightened by the epiphany of their own power and with a sense of wonder in the world.”

Our Team


Michael Wesch

Cultural Anthropologist

The New York Times listed Wesch as one of 10 professors in the nation whose courses “mess with old models” and added that “they give students an experience that might change how they think, what they care about or even how they live their lives.”  He is an avid storyteller of many genres whose presentations, animations, videos, podcasts, and video games have been experienced by millions.  He has won several major awards for his work, including the US Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation, the Wired Magazine Rave Award, and he was named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic.


Ryan Klataske

Cultural Anthropologist

Ryan Klataske is an award-winning photographer, rancher, land steward, world traveler, and a doctoral candidate in Anthropology with a specialization in Environmental Science and Policy at Michigan State University. His dissertation research focuses on wildlife management partnerships in Namibia. For the past 3 years Ryan has been teaching the online sections of Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, inspiring and transforming the lives of people of many ages and backgrounds and consistently averaging 4.9+ on teaching evaluations.


Tom Woodward

Wordpress Guru

Tom Woodward is an educator, photographer, and web developer. His work with educators and technology has earned him recognition from Apple, Dell, and Discovery Education. An early participant in the brainstorming to develop #DS106, he believes technology can positively change how we approach aspects of education.